Category Archives: Photography

The power of words

People never cease to disappoint me.  I have no idea where the current trend of saying everything that’s on your mind has come from, but all it does is create conflict.  We seem to have lost the ability to think of anyone else’s feelings but our own and tact seems to have done a runner.

I’ve had a weird idea for a photo in my head for a while, so this week I put it into practice.  It involved someone dressing up in a long dress and a velvet cape to give the illusion of a by-gone era and I couldn’t find a volunteer, so I volunteered myself.  For Christmas I’ve treated myself to an off-camera flash so before starting on my complicated photo I wanted to do some practice shots to try it out.  I’ve never used flash before and haven’t a clue what I’m doing but I learned a lot from my little trial.  Having said all that, trying to light and focus on a model who isn’t actually there because they’re behind the camera was tricky!  I had to keep fiddling with the settings on my camera, then dashing round to sit on a stool, focus my camera with a remote shutter release, take the picture, then get up again to check the image.  I must have spent nearly an hour fiddling around trying to get the new lighting right and by the end of it I was sweating like a  pig on a spit.

I don’t usually put photos of myself on my blog, for the reason that there are a lot of fucking weirdos out there who could save the image and use it for god knows what purpose.   Why on earth anyone would want to download a photo of a total stranger off the internet is anyone’s guess, but I know it does happen and a friend of mine had photos stolen off her blog and found them being used on t-shirts!!  However, the whole point of this post is what a “friend” said about my picture so I’m going to break the habit of a lifetime and include it:

selfieThis wasn’t meant to be a portrait of myself – I was just practicing my lighting for another shot.  I put on a little eyeshadow and lipstick so I could see how colour came out under my new flash, but other than that I’m wearing no foundation, blusher or anything else – in fact, I don’t think I’d even washed my face for two days previous to this picture being taken and put the eyeshadow on ontop of the muck 😉  It has not been photoshopped or airbrushed in any way, apart from lightening the blue in my eyes a little.  And bear in mind I’ve been ill for over two decades, hardly sleep, spend every day in pain and exhausted to the point of collapse and will be 50 this birthday.  So, knowing all that I think it came out OK.

I put my photos on Facebook for my friends to comment on as some of them are also into photography and give me invaluable feedback on my technique.  Within seconds of this image being put on Facebook I received a text (why did she text me, why didn’t she comment on Facebook?) from a “friend” who told me the image was awful, I looked miserable, I looked years older than I am and to basically get rid of it (and she used exclamation points to ram the message home).

Why would someone say that, particularly someone who is supposed to be my friend?  What was her intention in telling me she hated my portrait and I looked like shit, because the only reason I could think of for saying that to someone is to make them feel bad.  What did she expect my reply to be?  “Gosh, being as though you hate it I’ll delete it immediately.  And of course I will run any photo past you in the future in case you don’t like it”.  Or “I’m sorry I look old, I’ll book myself in for a some Botox and fillers toute suite or maybe you think I should go the whole hog and have a face lift”.  Just to spite her I feel like printing it off as an A3 poster and putting it on my lounge room wall 😉  Try taking a close-up picture of yourself, without makeup and under harsh studio lighting and lets see how your fifty year old face turns out – there’s a bloody good reason we only see 20 year old flawless models in advertising campaigns and that’s because they’re the only people whose features look good under those conditions and even then their images are airbrushed to within an inch of their life after the event.

I was always taught that if you have nothing nice to say about someone, you say nothing because to say something nasty is hurtful.  It seems these days we’ve lost the ability to consider the power of our words and how they affect others.

I’m helping with our Camera Club’s beginners group this year and this includes having to critique people’s photos.  Some of the pictures are absolutely dreadful but, although I do give constructive criticism and tell someone how the image can be improved, I always always say something positive because you can decimate someone’s confidence by telling them how crap their picture is and I’m in the job of making people into better photographers, not making them feel so shit about their work they never pick up a camera again.

There seems to be a mind-set these days that people are “entitled to their opinion” but y’know what, they’re not.  Not if their opinion is hurtful, belittling, spiteful or just plain nasty.  Your friends are supposed to lift you up, not make you feel like crap.  I wouldn’t even intentionally be nasty to a stranger as I don’t know their circumstances or the impact my words will have – they could be on the brink and my being mean could tip them over the edge.  The exception is if they’ve already been hurtful to me, and then to be fair the gloves are off and they deserve what they get!

My final image (below), and the reason I was practicing dressed up in a cape, isn’t my most successful ever but it’s all a learning curve – not every picture can be a competition winning masterpiece.  This composite picture was incredibly hard to achieve and I learned much in doing it, not least who my friends are!


Weekly roundup

Even though my holiday finished last Friday I’ve actually had a more relaxing week this week than when I was supposed to be resting, even though not everything has gone to plan.

I thought my leaking loo would just be a washer, but sadly it’s turned out not to be the case.  So, having taken the cistern apart, I decided I couldn’t fix it and have had to claim on my insurance and they’re sending a plumber out on Tuesday morning.

Speaking of insurance, the Adjudicator from the Financial Ombudsman’s office who is dealing with my new PHI complaint rang me on Thursday.  He said he agrees totally that my insurers should not be reducing my money and he’s already contacted them to ask them to explain why they’ve done so.  He’s hopeful they will reply some time this week.  He’s such a nice chap, keeps me fully informed of what’s happening and is obviously on my side – such a huge difference to my last complaint in 2011 which was a total nightmare.  So I’m more hopeful the issue can be resolved quickly and my money re-instated (famous last words!).

I’m still plodding on with my ESA renewal forms.  I have 6 letters from consultants as my “supporting evidence” so if that’s not enough I give up.  I haven’t even started on the actual form yet though, as it’s taken all week to get the medical evidence together and write the bit about “how my illnesses affect me” which runs to 4 typed pages!

I had a bit of a crisis on Tuesday morning.  Bertie woke unable to put any weight on his front leg.  After a bit of deduction I decided he’d sprained/strained his front “knee”, so gave him some Calpol (at a dose recommended by the Vet, he can’t take anti-inflammatories like Metacam as they make him sick), strapped it up with a compression bandage and only gave him short walks for 2 days.  Thankfully it’s much improved and he’s no longer limping.

I’ve lost 4 followers after posting my Scarlet Woman piece.  I expected it, as women don’t like to hear that it’s the man’s fault when he strays.  Women like to blame the Other Woman even if that makes absolutely no sense.  It’s like having your house burgled and being blamed for leaving the door open.  You should be able to leave the sodding door and every window you possess open without some random stranger pinching your stuff.  Burglary is always the burglar’s fault.  Just like infidelity is always the married cheater’s fault, even if the person they strayed with came on to them.

My weekly roundup is a day early this week.  Today (Saturday) I was supposed to be at a wildlife photography workshop.  I can’t normally afford to go on these things, but someone dropped out and I was offered a half-price ticket.   But yesterday The Curse arrived and I started with a dreadful migraine and awful back pain.  I got hardly a wink of sleep last night and still had my migraine this morning although it’s thankfully fading now.  I’ve also had the worst hormone-related back pain I think I’ve ever experienced, with shooting burning nerve pain in my left hip which stabs me every minute or so.  I can’t sit, stand or lie without awful pain so have had to cancel.  Bloody typical.  They’re holding a 2nd workshop tomorrow and have held a place for me, which is really kind, but I have no idea how I’ll feel in the morning so will just have to play it by ear.

As I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, I’ve tried doing some portrait pictures this year having never photographed people before and not possessing any proper studio lighting or equipment (I don’t even have a proper flash for my camera!). I’ll leave you with ‘Ol’ Blue Eyes’, which I’ve entered in a competition this week – won’t find out if it did any good for some time yet but will keep you posted.


The older generation

This post isn’t health related but I wanted to share it anyway.  As some of you know, I can get a bit exasperated with people who whine.  I know things aren’t perfect health-care wise in either the UK or the States but on the whole we’re pretty well looked after and have comfortable lives.  I listen to my Mum’s tales of growing up in a family of 9, living in 2 rooms with a loo at the end of the garden, and my Nan doing all the cooking from scratch on a black lead grate which had to be constantly fed with coal and it’s a different world.  She used to get up at 4.30am on a Monday to start the weekly wash, having to light an open fire then put a big tub of water (hand filled by her) on the top and scrub all their clothes by hand which took all day – bear in mind she did this while being either pregnant or breastfeeding for the better part of 20 years.  There was no health-care until the NHS was introduced in 1948 because they couldn’t afford a doctor.  My Mum’s best mate was wealthier and used to be given a fresh apple every day for lunch, so she used to keep the core for my Mum to eat on the way home from school even if it had gone all brown.  Yet when my Mum talks about her childhood her eyes positively light up – despite the poverty the children were really happy and seemed much more content than today’s kids.

My step-dad was born in the village I now live in.  When I moved here 12 years ago a widower was living in my Dad’s old house.  He was cow man on the farm next to me, was paid appallingly low wages but lived in the house for free as part of his job.  He retired a few years ago and of course had to leave his home of 42 years because he was no longer employed.  My Dad asked the Farmer if he could have a look around his former family home and it was a real eye opener.  The electricity was so old it still had the old bakerlight switches which were probably lethal.  There was no central heating and no double glazing.  The floors were stone flags and must have been freezing to walk on in winter.  The bathroom was downstairs and contained a metal bath, which when I touched it was so cold my fingers actually stuck to it.  The kitchen contained a metal sink on spindle legs and one free-standing 1960s unit.  The roof was leaking and, while we were looking round, part of the bedroom ceiling actually collapsed.  It wasn’t even fit for human habitation.

The former cow man, George, still works in our village and I see him often.  Despite being in his 70s he still helps out on the farm and cuts all the grass in the village, including the Church and graveyard.  He only has 1 tooth (Lord know how he eats anything), wears a flat cap and a thick cardigan even if it’s 30C outside and is constantly covered in grass clippings.  He can talk for England but can’t hear much of what you say ’cause he’s as deaf as a post.  He’s what we call a “character” – they’re a dying breed.

This year I’ve tried my hand at photographing people, which is something I haven’t done before, focusing on old folk.  They have such life, such character, in their faces and my hope is that I can tell their stories through pictures.  This week I plucked up courage to ask George if he’d let me take his photo.  His first reaction was a suspicious “what for?!” but I won him round and got a picture of him with his grass strimmer, flat cap, cardigan and all.  I hope he likes it.

Weekly roundup

The past week has had it’s fair share of ups and down.  I’m still not taking any medication for my GERD, although I’m swigging Gaviscon Advance like it’s water.  The replacement tablet prescribed by my GP wasn’t available anywhere, so she had to change it and even that drug was only available from one pharmacy.  It had to be ordered in, so I’m currently waiting to pick it up.  To be honest, though, I don’t hold out any hope of being able to tolerate it.

I have the worst outbreak of butt hives I’ve had in ages.  It could be that the H2 blockers were doing more than just helping my stomach acid.  Or it could be down to the fact the Birch pollen season has started so my histamine burden is currently way high.  Or it could be down to the emotional stress of the past couple of weeks.  Or a combination of all of the above.

I also have a really sore throat.  Due to my M.E. I had a permanent sore throat for about 15 years, but now no longer suffer.  So I’m wondering if this is M.E. related or whether I have a mid throat infection (it’s much worse on one side than the other, which points more to the infection theory).  It’s impossible to tell if my glands are up – I had Glandular Fever when I was 13 and my glands have been like rock hard golf balls ever since.

My Mum hasn’t been good this week either.  She had to be on 3 different types of antibiotics last month for a chest infection, which has now given her the worst case of thrush I’ve ever seen.  The cream she was given isn’t touching it, so it looks like she might need oral anti-fungals.  But she’s now started coughing again, so is on yet another lot of antibiotics which will make the thrush problem worse.   She’s just so fed up of the whole merry-go-round and seems really down – I don’t blame her.

However, the week hasn’t been all bad – in fact, quite the opposite.  The first week I stopped the H2 blockers for my reflux the pain was like nothing on earth, possibly from rebound acid production.  But this week it’s actually settled down to at least an acceptable level and I no longer feel like I can’t manage it.  I’m not saying it’s any fun, but it’s (kind of) bearable.

The weather has also been great this week.  Still in single figures, but dry and spring-like.  I’ve even managed to potter about in the garden for half an hour most mornings doing a bit of pruning and having a general tidy up after winter.   Being amongst nature in the fresh air never fails to lift my spirits and I sat mesmerized watching some sparrows taking in twigs and straw to my nest boxes.

Having been largely stuck in bed for the past 2 weeks it’s given me the opportunity to start a new blog (my friend K says I’m a blog addict and I need professional help 😉 ).  As many of you know, I have a passion for amateur photography which started 4 years ago when I adopted Bertie.  I’ve never had a lesson in my life and when I first started hadn’t got a clue what I was doing – it took me an entire year just to decipher the manual of my DSLR camera 😉 .   In addition, none the information I read either in books or online seemed aimed at a total beginner and assumed all sorts of knowledge I didn’t possess.  So it’s been a really steep learning curve trying to figure it all out.  To save anyone else going through the same trials I thought I’d start a blog on what I’ve learned and share my experience with others interested in improving their photography skills.  The site is called ‘The Amateur Photographer’ if anyone is interested – it’s best to start at the beginning as the posts all build on each other.

It was Mother’s Day here in the UK last weekend, so I managed to pull myself together enough to take my Mum out for lunch (well, OK, technically my Dad took us all out for lunch as I’m broke and couldn’t afford the bill).  With my stomach problems I thought it would be a nightmare, but actually I coped alright given the circumstances.  My Mum was sent some flowers off my brother, so I thought I’d leave you with a picture of a Ranunculus from the bouquet – isn’t nature wonderful?


Weekly roundup

I’m starting off with an apology.  I realized yesterday that I’d missed a step out of the recipe instructions for my Leek & Ricotta Cannelloni – ooops!  It’s now been rectified 🙂

My new (2nd hand) scooter has had to go back to the shop this week as it was losing power and I need it fixed before the warranty runs out.  I still have my little scooter, but it crawls along at a snail’s pace in comparison and of course can’t go over any rough terrain *sob*.

I had a follow-up appointment with my physiotherapist on Friday re my hips.  She was actually quite pleased with my progress, as I’m now not subluxing (ie partially dislocating) my hips willy nilly 10 times a day and my acute pain has gone – it’s only taken 3 months of doing absolutely nothing!  She now wants me to start some gentle water exercises to re-strengthen the ligaments, starting with just 10 mins and working my way up over the course of several months so as not to exacerbate my M.E.  I had planned on hiring a private pool with my neighbour, but she’s notorious for getting all excited about things but never actually following through and being as though she’s already cancelled on me once I decided to just use the public pool.  They do a special Disabled Swim for an hour on a Sunday morning, so I’m going to go along to that – the good news is it’s right opposite my Mum’s house so I can drop Bertie off there first.

We chatted about whether I could resume some short walks over level ground, and my physio said it was worth a try.  But she suggested I wear 2 pairs of Spanx (ie body control cycling shorts), preferably a size smaller than I actually am, which should hold my hip joints and ligaments in place and give them less chance to slide around.  As my big scooter is being repaired, and it was snowing in any event which means going out on a scooter isn’t do-able, I decided to walk Bertie this morning.  I got the spanx on, then my jeans, wellies and waterproof over-trousers and waddled my way like a constipated duck to the car to drive to the woods, in the hope the trees would shelter us from the worst of the weather.  Only when I tried to sit down to drive I felt like the spanx were cutting me in half and I needed a crane to get me back out of the car at the other end.  They might help my hips, but in the meantime my torso is going to die of oxygen deprivation 😉

The bad news is both my knees have now started to play up and tonight they are seriously painful 😦 . The physio was gobsmacked and has no idea why.  I’m just totally pissed off with sorting one issue out only for another issue to take its place.

My Physio is a senior specializing in Rheumatology at my local hospital.  My GP was very reluctant to refer me initially, as we have a physio team at my local health centre, so to make a point I tried them for 3 months and it was a disaster.  They knew nothing about EDS and the standard exercises they gave me made everything worse.  After that my GP agreed the rheumy physio might be a better option ;-).  Fran is lovely and just admits when she doesn’t know something or is at a loss about what to do, which sounds rubbish but is such a refreshing change.  I feel like we work as a team and she really listens to me.  She knows I know more about my body than anyone and just accepts it if I tell her I can’t do an exercise due to my ME.  She has several EDS patients and admits she gets really frustrated at not being able to help them more.  She’s going on an EDS training course at the end of Jan being run by Rheumatologist Dr Hakim, one of the UKs leading hypermobility specialists and medical advisor to both the HMSA and EDS UK.  It shows she’s really interested in EDS and genuinely wants to learn more about the disease which is wonderful :-).  We both agreed it’s diabolical there are no hypermobility specialists in the north of the UK (there’s a clinic in Manchester but that’s 100 miles south of us) and the situation desperately needs to change – I hope she brings this issue up with Dr Hakim when she sees him!

As I stated in my last Weekly Roundup, Wednesday night was results night at my Camera Club for the annual Millennium Trophy.  It has a set theme, and this year’s was that of a Composite image.  I knew I wouldn’t be placed, as the competition was open to the whole club which includes professional photographers, but it’s still nice to see everyone’s pictures appearing on the big screen and hearing the Judge critique them – you learn all sorts.   My picture of the flying boot was awarded 17/20 which to be honest I was dead chuffed about being as though I had no clue what I was doing.  But as the end of the evening approached my Couch Surfing picture hadn’t appeared and my heart sank in case my email hadn’t gotten through and the club hadn’t received my entry.  But, as it turned out, there was a reason my photo was last………….I only went and won the entire thing!!!  Yes my friends, I bloody well WON!!!!!  I get a trophy and everything, which apparently is awarded at the annual dinner in April.  I was so elated I can’t even remember the 7 mile drive home and didn’t come down off the ceiling until well past midnight 😉

Weekly roundup

I’ve had one of those weeks where life has seemed tough.  Every joint is hurting, I’ve struggled to sleep for over 3 months now and am beyond exhausted, I’ve had a bad run of migraines one of which kept me up all night on Thurs vomiting and I had a mast cell reaction on Fri night which now means I’m petrified to take my H2 anti-histamine.  So I’ve had a break from it, and the anxiety, and now have rampant reflux which is simply agony and my cough is back so acid is obviously spilling into my lungs.  After 20 years of living with these kinds of symptoms, and more, every second of every day, I’m kinda tired of the whole thing.

I’m not getting on very well with my Smart crutches.  I ideally wanted a black pair, but after reading the blurb realized I needed the smaller crutches with the shorter leg and arm rest lengths and they only come in red, blue and grey.  I settled for grey, which are actually still very smart with black stripes, and they are definitely much lighter and more user friendly than the NHS gutter crutches.  However, the cuff which goes round your arms is massive and as I walk along my arms just fall out of them.  Not sure why they’ve made crutches for tiny people and put a standard cuff on them?  I’ve kept meaning to ring the company for advice, but it’s just another chore to add to my list and I’ve not gotten around to it yet.  I think I’ll try sticking some foam inside to pad the cuff out and make it smaller (I don’t want to use any kind of tie because it makes them impossible to put on or take off on your own).

Monday I took my Dad 30 miles to our local hospital for a follow-up endoscopy (he’s had severe stomach problems for years).  We got there at 1pm, his endoscopy was due at 1.30pm, it takes about 90 minutes, so we thought we’d be home about 4pm.  Think again.  We sat in the packed, boiling hot, waiting room on rock hard chairs until 2.45pm when they finally called his name.  I told the nurse I was popping into the city to do some Xmas shopping for my Mum and would be back in 90 minutes.  I got back to the hospital dead on time to find my Dad, stony faced, sitting in the waiting room.  Thinking he’d finished early and had been waiting for me to pick him up I apologized, but he said “oh, don’t worry about it – I haven’t had the damned thing yet!”.

By that stage he’d been sat there for nearly 3 hours.  I pressed the buzzer to the theatre and asked a nurse what was happening.  Apparently there’d been several emergencies in that afternoon, which I understand, but not a single member of staff had been out to the waiting room to tell any of the patients what was happening.  They’d just left them there.  My Dad was told not to eat or drink anything for 6 hours before the procedure.  He wasn’t up in time to have an early breakfast, so hadn’t had a bite since his supper at 5.30pm the night before, nearly 24 hours earlier.  Good job he’s not diabetic.  By the time he had the procedure done and we arrived home it was 6.30pm – we were both totally fed up and my Dad was absolutely ravenous.

The week has not been a total right-off however.  As regular readers know, my Mum has been coughing up blood again and had an emergency CT scan last Tuesday.  We got the results and there has been no significant change since her last scan, so that was a massive relief.  We still don’t know why she’s coughing up blood, but it has happened before, went on for 3 months, then just stopped.  I’m convinced she has Ehlers-Danlos and has very fragile capillaries and it could just be that, because of her severe recent chest infection and all the coughing she did, she’s damaged some of them (is that even possible?).  She also has horrendous nose bleeds for no reason anyone can fathom and which can happen in the middle of the night while she’s sleeping.  Anyway, they’ve made her an appt to see a pulmonary specialist in Feb.  Not sure why, as there’s nothing anyone can do about her lungs, but we’ll go anyway and see what they say.

My other big news of the week is that the results of my second Camera Club competition were announced on Wednesday.  It was on a set theme of flowers, so I submitted 2 very different pictures: one of some poppy seed heads taken in my garden, and one of some wild poppies in a rape field taken on a walk with Bertie early one morning.  To my amazement the seed photo won me 2nd place and the poppy flowers won me 1st!  As I’d never taken a “proper” photo in my life until 3 years ago and am completely self-taught (which is code for ‘haven’t a clue what I’m doing’) I’m always gob-smacked that seasoned photographers think my pictures are good in any way!

1st place

1st place

2nd place

2nd place

Right, it’s now 8.30am and I really must get up and have some breakfast.  My dog walker doesn’t come on weekends, so I have to take Bertie out at 9am which, with the new scooter, is no bother.  I always wake between 6am-7am, regardless how little sleep I’ve had, and do nearly all my blog posts at this early time of day as my brain works at its best just after I’ve woken up.  I know this totally flies in the face of most people with M.E.’s experience, where their brains simply don’t work in the morning, but I’ve always been a Lark and do all my paperwork before 11am because after that my brain is simply not capable!

Weekly roundup

I was going to write this post yesterday, being the end of the week, but I had a migraine.  An all-over-my-noggin-not-just-on-one-side migraine, that made me nauseous and want to chop my head off just to get rid of the pain.  It’s day 17 of my menstrual cycle.  Again.  What is it about day 17 that gives me a migraine?!  If I work out the figures I ovulate around day 12-14, so why I should have a hormone derived head explosion on day 17 is a mystery.  Please menopause, hurry yourself along so I don’t have to deal with this shit every month!

My hip pain has been slightly better this week, yayyy 🙂 .  I’ve been trialling an all terrain mobility scooter (more on this in a future blog post), and received my smart crutches (more on this to come too) so I’ve barely walked a step and it has helped.  I see my physio again tomorrow but to be fair I can’t spend my whole life sitting on my lardy arse, so I’m not sure what the solution is going to be.  Watch this space.

My mast cells remain twitchy and I’m still sleeping badly.  After nearly 3 months the insomnia is now making me grumpy (yes, it is possible for me to be even grumpier than normal – hard to believe I know 😉 ).  I’m having some slight reactions after random foods but so far they’re not out of hand (thank you God!).  I’m trying to be really strict with my diet, but I’m so exhausted, feel so nauseous and it hurts so much to stand to make meals, that I confess it’s a struggle.  Last night I ended up with a bowl of Cornflakes and some tortilla chips dipped in mango chutney for dinner.  It’s all I wanted so just for once I indulged in crap.  It was delicious 😉

The big news of last week in our family is that we’ve finally got my Nan into residential care.  She’s 100 years old, can’t walk unaided, is doubly incontinent, partially deaf, partially sighted, diabetic and going ever so slightly doolally.  She currently lives in sheltered housing with the help of my Dad and paid carers, but the last 2 years have been really hard and we’ve agreed as a family that she needs more care than we can currently provide.

We asked her Social Worker to assess her for residential care, thinking she’d sail through, and were absolutely gobsmacked last Tuesday when she was turned down as she “didn’t fit the criteria”.  The only way she could get any worse is to be dead, so I rang the Social Worker for a little chat.  I pointed out that my Nan, who weighs 20 stones (280lbs), falls so regularly that the ambulance service know her by name.  That she has continence accidents which include smearing excrement all over herself, the bed, the walls and the carpets (we have no idea how she manages this!) which my 75 year old Dad has to clean up, sometimes at midnight.  She thinks all the Carers are stealing from her, and last month accused them of taking her Dentures which we eventually found under the bed (Lord knows how she got them there!).  And to cap it all off, we found she’s been hiding all her medication in a Tic Tac box and not actually taking it, putting her at risk of a diabetic coma.  The Social Worker decided to change her mind and we now have a bed for her in a lovely home not far from my parents.  Result.

Life doesn’t stop just because you’re chronically sick.  You still have to deal with all the milestone events that healthy people deal with, you just have to do it whilst also dealing with your own problems.  It’s stressful.

It’s my second Camera Club competition this week and there is a set theme of flowers.  Here are my 2 entries:

Judging takes place in December.  Wish me luck!


I mentioned in a previous blog post that I have exciting news.  Well it’s exciting to me and no-one else but I thought I’d share anyway 😉

As regular readers of my blog know I have a passion for photography.  I started taking photos when I adopted my Mini Schnauzer Bertie in 2011.  Hadn’t the foggiest clue what I was doing (still don’t!) but I love it.

In September I decided to join my local Camera Club to see if I could improve my skills.  The Club holds regular in-house competitions which are judged by an outsider from another Camera Club.  Your pictures are critiqued in front of everyone, which is mortifying, but the point is that you learn not only from your own mistakes but from everyone else’s.  It’s also nice to get inspiration from other people’s pictures, particularly the Advanced class who’ve been taking photos for donkeys years.

I entered my first competition this week with a photo of some Honesty seeds and the judging was last night.  The result………fanfare please………is that I was awarded 2nd place!  Can’t believe it for my very first photo entry and I’m thrilled to bits 🙂


My second piece of exciting news is that many of my photos are now available for sale!  Some of my friends asked if they could buy my pictures as cards, prints or posters so I’ve placed them online.  I only make measly pennies on each one, but I’m not in it for the money – I just love taking photos of wildlife, my gorgeous dog and the stunning area around where I live, and it’s a bit pointless taking pictures unless you share them.

My UK shop is at where you can buy prints, posters, mousemats, jigsaws, fridge magnets, stickers, coasters and cushions but sadly not greetings cards (Photobox stupidly don’t offer them for sale).  If anyone sees a photo they like but would love, for example, a canvas or foam board print, please email me through the site and I can provide a price.

My international shop, available in most countries including the UK, is at where you can buy cards, prints, posters, mugs, t-shirts, cushions, duvets, mobile phone skins, tablet skins and laptop skins (note: not all photos available in all products).  Just click on the picture you like from the gallery, and available products will be shown if you scroll down the page.

If buying greetings cards from Redbubble from the UK there is unfortunately up to a 2 week delivery time as they are printed in the States, though the time should be quicker for posters as they are printed in the UK if ordered in the UK (printed in the States if ordered from the States).  Unfortunately I can’t provide postage and packaging costs as it depends on your country of origin, so this is calculated at checkout.

I’m just an amateur, so don’t expect the Mona Lisa, but I hope you enjoy looking through the photos as much as I enjoyed taking them 🙂 .